What I wish I knew as a first year student, as a graduate – academia

Now the jump from A-levels to higher education can be quiet extreme, but thanks to the first year of your degree – you’ll be eased into it. However, there are still some challenges that a lot of first years may struggle with. I wanted to give you the ultimate run down from my own experience.

Note: I studied a life sciences degree so this is from a life sciences POV.

Step 1 – don’t go in with the attitude of ‘it doesn’t matter’

This year may not necessarily go towards your final degree grade, but don’t have a nasty attitude towards it. Attend lectures, seminars, workshops, etc., with all your might – no matter the hangover from Quack. Take part in group work, and put as much effort into assignments and exams as you can. It’s all a learning curve, and you’ll learn a lot more than what you think.

Practice makes perfect

Try your hardest to ace absolutely everything, every piece of coursework you can. Take advantage of the help people will offer, meet with your tutor and check out what help the library may have on offer (there have been countless times the MASH team have assisted both myself and coursemates). Practice really does make perfect, especially in times when you’ve never had to do a certain type of coursework before.

Don’t panic, I know it’s a big jump

Like I mentioned before, I know it’s a big jump from A-levels to higher education. The coursework standards have changed, the style of writing has altered and the marking criteria seems stricter. Your first year is there as the first step on the ladder. Your tutors know and understand that it’s all new to you so the guidance you receive should be helpful but it’s important not to panic and over think. Take your time, ask for help and off you go!

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